"2009 was the year of choices. I chose to vote for the first black President. I chose to move to a different city. I chose to drink more. I chose to eat more. I chose to dance more. I chose to yell more. I chose travel over home. I chose to get a different job and in return, they chose me. Like I said, it was the year of choices. But while I would like to think that last year was full of watershed moments where I made those life-altering choices, the truth is that a lot of those choices were made for me. I didn't want to start hating my job in Orange County, but that wasn't up to me. I didn't want to drink more but I really hated my job. I didn't want to eat more but you know how hungry you get when you've been drinking. And I didn't want to gain weight but nothing beats Del Taco when you're drunk. And then I was right back where I started, hating my job.
I think a lot of us like to delude ourselves into thinking that we control our own lives. But I've learned that most of us, probably all of us, are not in control. Whether it's a car accident, getting laid off, the economy taking a dip in Lake Recession, cancer, a marriage falling apart or a girl telling you that she doesn't love you, what happens to us isn't really up to us. I'm writing this in my kitchen in San Francisco not because I moved up here but because someone else chose to give me a job so I could move up here. And you're getting to read this because somebody else (me) took the time to write it and somebody else (Zuhair) was kind enough to post it. Most of what we do is a direct result of the choices others put in front of us.
But while we don't have a say in the things that happen to us, we do have a say in how we react. We can't always control what we take in from the world but we can certainly control what we put out there. And that's the most important thing I took away from 2009. I wasn't able to do a lot about losing my job, or stop my parents from slowly drifting apart. I couldn't force someone to tell the truth or convince someone else not to fall in love. I couldn't stop the urine-smelling homeless man from sitting next to me on the subway. Hell, I wasn't able to stop the Yankees from winning the World Series. But I was able to find a new job and I was able to forgive someone for lying. I was able to be there for someone when they got their heart broken and I was able to give that homeless man a dollar for a hot cup of coffee.
For 2010, I want to learn how to let go. I want to learn how to accept things as they come. I want to handle life like a man instead of a boy. I want to lose some weight. And I really want the Yankees to have a losing season. I know that this year, just like last year, will be full of the unpredictable. But unlike last year, I know that whatever happens, happens, but how I react will always be up to me.
Happy new year."
James can be found gallivanting about on the streets of San Francisco. When he's not doing that, he's twittering what he eats. Not about what he eats, simply what he eats. Follow him @robocopinator.
If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection here are the links.